Scooter and Motorcycle Rental
I just returned back from a week long trip to St John and thought I would give some input into getting around on St John via scooter or motorcycle. I rented a motorcycle (street legal dirt bike) and I loved it, but it will not / should not be for everyone. First, the realities.
St John is a beautiful island, and most opt for a car rental for good reasons. Others have mentioned the steepness of the hills and they are not exagerating. The uphill and downhill grades can be extremely steep, and it is not uncommon for there to be 90 degree switch back turns at the top of them. The roads are narrow, but for the most part well maintained (expect the more remote portions of the island). Complicating this is driving on the left, watching out for donkeys (yes, I said donkeys) in the middle of the road), and periodic downpours making the surface slick. Considering a scooter or motorcycle rental here is not nearly as straight forward as on other tropical destinations with flatter topography.
If you're still reading up to this point, then I'll assume that you aren't disuaded by the above and that you have a couple years of riding experience (as you'll certainly need it). And if you're up for the challenge, the rewards IMO are well worth it. There are a number of great benefits to traveling like this: your transportation rental cost is much cheaper than a car, parking is greatly simplified, and you'll save $$ on gas (it's a lot more expensive on the islands). The views while riding are much more expansive and there are certainly great views to enjoy while driving around.
Bear in mind your motorcycle rental options will be in the 250cc range, so if you're used to bigger bikes this will take some getting used to. I would (IMO) that if you are the only rider then having a year of ride time is sufficient on these types of roads. If you plan on carrying a passenger you'll most likely need a couple more years ride time experience with someone on the back. If you need to carry a decent amount of gear then another couple years on top of that would be helpful. If that sounds a bit extreme, remember everything I mentioned in the first paragraph and that you are now on a 250cc motorcycle without a lot of horsepower. I personally would not rent a scooter vs a motorcycle, but that again is my opinion.
If you do choose to rent a bike, one last piece of advice. There was only one place on St John that rented scooters / motorcycles, and they were terribly overpriced and communications poor. Instead I rented on St Thomas and took it to St Johns and it worked out much better. The price was signficantly lower (even with rental cost plus ferry fees), the motorcycles recent models / well maintained, the communications timely and very helpful, and they pick up / drop off at the airport. I worked with "Biz Scooter Rentals" and Cesar Lupatelli and it was an excellent experience - I recommend them to anyone.
Best of luck and enjoy your trip!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Getting to St. John
We took the Inter-Island Boat Services ferry from West End, Tortola to Cruz Bay, St. John. It cost $26/person one way. There was also a $2/piece of luggage charge. The trip took about 20 minutes.
Once we arrived on St. John, we rented a car so that we could explore and do everything on our own.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Sailing and Boating
Noah's Little Arks
Highly, highly recomend rental a Zodiac in St. John's along with snorking gear. Back in 2000, we rented one for $100 a day. We brought enough food, and beverages for the whole day. We traveled from beach to beach, one of the best times of my life !!!
Noah's Little Arks is located on the beach at Wharfside Village and is open every day of the week from 8 am to 5 pm.
Rental cars are a dime a dozen on the island and most will come pick you up wherever you're staying on the island and drop you off at the ferry docks at no charge. You will need a 4x4 to manage the mountainous terrain and you will find Suzukis are the most available option, in fact you'll wish you had invented Suzuki when you see how many there are on the islands. I recommend walking around Cruz Bay and getting quotes before renting, because often you can get a $10 price differential by just walking to the next agency. Rentals are expensive, because transportation is so limited running from $50-$75/day. If you are on a budget it may be wise to rent for just a day as you can see most of the island in that amount of time.
Open Air Taxis
It is easy although not cheap to get around St. John via open air taxis. Rates are pretty high considering the distance is never really more than 10 miles or so. This is the only public transport available and will require you to be patient as drivers generally fill up the taxi before leaving. You can catch these taxis anywhere especially in downtown Cruz Bay near the ferry docks. I recommend Charles and his Charles' Angels taxi in particular for fair rates and friendly service.
DO NOT rent a scooter!
After living on St.John I can tell you without a doubt that riding a scooter on this island is taking your life into your hands.
The roads on the island are winding and very steep and narrow in places. Beisdes that, some of the oversized taxis are not shy about taking their half of the road in the middle. Now consider all this with the fact that alot of people are liquored up and possibly attempting to drive on the left side of the road for the first time in their lives. Unless you have a death wish, you DO NOT want to be on a scooter on this island!
Rent a dinghy for the day & tour the beaches
I highly recommend that you rent a little dinghy from Noah's Little Arks and set out on your own Caribbean beach adventure in beautiful St. John. I have never in my life seen such turquoise blue clear water and supple pure white sand. We cruised around all day visiting secluded beach after secluded beach. Bring along a picnic and enjoy a breathtakingly romantic day with someone you love.
I can't remember the price of the rental to save my life but I can say with certainty that it was well under $100 in 2002.Related to:
- Family Travel
Rent A Jeep
You should rent a jeep but unfortunately when we went they didn't have anything available so you should probabbly make a reservation. We rented scooters a little bit dangerous but it was great sight seeing and it was definately worth it we got to see almost the whole island and we made it to skinny legs which it's a very famous bar and grill, they have the best fish sandwhich.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
ST. John does not have an airport or anything progressive like that, so, it's back to the days of sail....well, not really, there's a ferry that runs between Redhook, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John every hour up to 11pm. For a mere $3 USD, you can get a one-way ticket across the strait...
Once on St. Thomas just tell the taxi driver to take you to the St. John ferry in Redhook. I think one also leaves from Charlotte-Amalie for a few more dollars...
SF's Lombard St with really great views
VITRANS is a joke! One bus line from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay then it turns south. Catch it at the marked off space in front of Ferry Pier. They have two buses so should run hourly from 7:20am to after 6 pm but if one is out then expect every other hour. Ask people waiting in front of food shack on right when to expect the bus. C'est la vie.Related to:
- National/State Park
There is a ferry leaving St. Thomas in Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay in St. John.
$6 round trip per person or $35 round trip if you taking the car.
I do recommend taking the car to go to St. John.
Renting a jeep like this one would be COOL.
There are several Car & Jeep rental places in St.John. I will post a 3 of them.
1) Book a Jeep P.O . Box 4931 St. John, U.S. V.I. 00831 Tel. 340- 776-1120 Fax 340-693-9436.
2) St. John Car Rental Box 566, Cruz Bay,
St. John, V100830 Phone /Fax 340- 776-6103.
3) Cool Breeze Jeep/Car Rentals.
Cruz Bay St. John, V.I. P.O.Box 627-St. John.
U.S.V.I. 00831 Tel 340=776/6588, Fax 340/ 693-8078.
This is a picture of the tickets for the S.J.Tour.
The prices are on the tickets , I am not sure that this was the must reasonable price for the tour , I advise you to shop around.
The tour was very nice but without very big engines and very reliable brakes on your tour bus this would be very tricky, the road is winding and very steep at times.
There are several ways of going around the Island.
I have found several ways to get around the Island,this is the way we did it.
We went on a St. John Beach Tour. The Tour was operated by Cruise Ship Excursions
A picture of the tickets will be on the next Tip page.
We went from the BVI to St. John and returned by ferry.
The picture is of the St John ferry dock as we were leaving, going back to the BVI.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
St. John Hotels
Our very exclusive package was ~$850 per night for seven nights. very secluded beaches, incredible...more
PO Box 720, Caneel Bay, St. John, 00831-0720, Caribbean
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
Maho Bay, off North Shore Rd, PO Box 310, , 00831, Caribbean
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